1-year-old held hostage in Sacramento apartment appears OK as standoff stretches to 3rd day

By Robin Hindery, AP
Friday, June 11, 2010

1-year-old held hostage in Sacramento appears OK

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Authorities on Friday said a 1-year-old boy held hostage by an armed man in a Sacramento apartment complex appears to be fine as the standoff stretched into its third day.

Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Tim Curran said the welfare of the child, who is the son of the suspect’s cousin, is the deputies’ top concern.

Deputies said they heard the baby cry about 6:30 a.m. Friday, after they sent a robot into the apartment complex to place listening devices and remove visual obstructions.

The suspect, Anthony Alvarez, fired shots at the robot.

Curran said deputies also saw the baby through the window, and he appeared to be in good condition.

Alvarez, who turned 26 on Thursday, has been barricaded inside the apartment in an unincorporated part of Sacramento County since Wednesday, when authorities attempted to arrest him.

He was wanted in the investigation of three armed robberies in the San Francisco Bay area and for allegedly firing at an officer in Concord last Friday. San Francisco police investigating a homicide also want to speak with him.

Alvarez has exchanged gunfire with authorities on several occasions. At one point Thursday, a SWAT officer shot at him when he appeared at a window but missed.

Curran said authorities were able to communicate with Alvarez about 3 a.m. Friday and had what he described as a productive conversation that lasted 15 minutes. They have not communicated with him since.

Curran said officers haven’t had much success negotiating with Alvarez because the suspect does not appear to trust them.

“We have to assure him his well-being is one of our top priorities,” he said.

Although they do not believe Alvarez is a threat to the child, Curran said police are continuing to try to persuade him to let the boy go.

The child’s parents were not at the scene but were questioned by police, Curran said. He said the hostage standoff is the longest in memory for the sheriff’s department.

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